In a recent StandingWatch program, I discussed the error of the transubstantiation dogma, which holds that during the “Eucharist,” the bread and the wine change into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ (see StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube). I showed from the Bible the utter absurdity of that belief. Knowing fully well how controversial this subject is, I was not too surprised when some viewers expressed very strongly their disagreement with the program. After all, I read several years ago a discussion by a Catholic priest, stating that the dogma of the transubstantiation is the most important difference between the Catholic and the Protestant Church (which does not believe it), currently preventing total unification of the two denominations.
The “arguments,” especially those sent in to YouTube and supportive of Catholic teaching, were quite interesting. One viewer wrote:
“For 2,000 years the Catholic Church has always believed in Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. This has only been rejected during the past 500 years by the Protestants (who get their name from their protest of the Catholic Church which Christ established as His Church on Earth, ‘One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism’ -see Bible)…”
Another viewer stated:
“Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven… Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ Matt 16:18.”
I began to wonder–do those “arguments” convince anyone? Sadly, many accept them, reasoning as follows: The Pope is Peter’s successor (which he is not), and so, whatever he “binds” on earth is bound in heaven. If he declares that the bread and the wine change into the body and blood of Christ–regardless of how unbiblical this assertion may be–it is “bound” and has to be believed. And since–allegedly–the Catholic Church has believed this for 2,000 years, it has to be true.
Of course, we should know that none of these arguments are correct. Christ did not give ANY MAN the license to change or abolish God’s law, or to teach something which is contradicted in Scripture. The early Christian Church did NOT believe in the dogma of the transubstantiation for Biblical reasons; see our recent Q&A on this question.
But the real issue runs much deeper. The core of the matter affects all of us. And that profound truism is simply this: NO MAN has the right to add to or to delete from Biblical teaching. Christ said that we worship Him IN VAIN when we teach or believe as doctrines the commandments of men. He said that we are spiritually blind if we do away with the commandments of God so that we can uphold our own tradition.
We should not be fooled by nice-sounding statements in the press, as reported by USA Today on April 19, that the “Pope urges all Christians to ‘hold fast’ to scripture.” That is NOT what the pope said. The article itself clarified that the pope said that “our actions” must be “consistent with Scripture and TRADITION.”
But what about “tradition”?
When Catholics and Protestants claim that we must uphold the “tradition” of worshipping on Sunday–even though the Bible clearly commands us to “remember the SABBATH day to keep IT holy”–we are reminded of Christ’s stern warning not to worship Him in vain. When people replace the worship of God on His annual Holy Days with the tradition of worshipping Him on humanly devised holidays which originated in paganism, then they are told by Christ that they worship God in vain. And NO MAN can do away with that condemnation of our Lord and Savior!
The Pharisees at the time of Jesus followed their tradition of placing heavy burdens on the people–by adding restrictions and injunctions which were not found in Scripture. Christ condemned them for that. Today is not much different. We are told by religious leaders to do this and not to do that–but are those instructions based on the Holy Bible? If they are NOT, we are NOT bound to obey–in fact, we may be instructed by GOD, NOT to obey.
Most people don’t think that far. They are content with what “their” church or “their” minister might teach them. But this is NOT sufficient in the eyes of God. We ourselves must be totally convinced in our own minds of WHAT we believe–and WHY. Our conviction must be based on God’s Word, and NOT on human tradition. After all, we are told to obey GOD rather than man. And IF we embrace and continue to follow God’s truth, then we WILL inherit the crown of righteousness when Christ returns–and NO MAN will be able to take that crown away from us.